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Saturday 28 January 2017

Defender 300TDi Air Con header

Within the fuse box in our Defender there is a handy looking unused connector with some good size cables attached.

I spent ages on the Internet trying to find where in the circuit diagram the connector was.
It's shown as reference C786 in the header photographs but C786 does not appear in the electrical circuits!

I eventually found it. Referred to as Harness-A/C (H112). I've amended a copy of the circuit diagram to include the references.

I've also made a more useful header page to go with it.

Thursday 26 January 2017

Pickup model

Based on a Land Rover Defender pickup.

This is not one particular car but the style I like based on lots of images on the Internet.

It is 1/32 scale with the body and chassis being 3D printed. The body is from my own designs and I modelled the chassis based on a Ninco but shortened. It fits Ninco 4 wheel drive running gear and motor from one of their RAID trucks.

I ran it round the track to make sure it was working.


Defender 90 Blend file
Spare wheel Blend file
Defender 90 STL files (zip)
Licence attribution

My designs on

Sunday 22 January 2017

Pickup gate stay

As a temporary fix, when we fitted the side opening tailgate yesterday, Shelley tied a loop of baling twine on to the hinge side so it could not swing back and damage the lights.

That solution did not have to stay long. I had already purchased a gas strut to act as a stay. So, on another frosty morning, we fitted it.

Update: See the notes at the end. This gas strut and its replacement did not last the test of time.

I had bought an adjustable pressure gas strut because I had no idea how many Newtons force I needed. In fact I had no idea what a Newton of force felt like.

I now know that 700N is almost like a solid iron bar when trying to compress it! I let out a lot of pressure before I could even compress the strut using a door as leverage!

I bought stainless steel fittings because it was going to be outside in the truck. I also chose to have a protective sleeve over the piston. I selected  to have an 8mm thick rod and a 450mm long gas strut which with the eyes on each end results in 500mm between centres. The point of the length was to have some clearance taking in to account the thickness of the door and ensure I had more than enough travel in the piston. [See the updated notes at the end.]

To fit it I selected a position on the door side as close to the hinge as I could in order to get the best clearance. The height being almost exactly central between the lower hinge bolts. Again, I didn't want the piston to be restricted by the hinge bolts.

The brackets I chose were ideal at the truck end but as I wanted the bolt head on the outside of the door I had to carefully measure and cut the M6 bolt to length so it did not foul the piston.

With Shelley's help we bolted the bracket through to the wheel arch with a strengthening plate on the back.

The bracket is positioned so the piston is fractionally under pressure when the door is fully open. Just two millimeters short of the full extension.

The gas strut can only be reduced in pressure, by letting out some gas. It cannot be increased in force so some care was needed in the adjustment.  I've left it a little stronger than is perhaps ideal because I have yet to fit the wheel carrier.

The nut sticks out a bit too much, I've changed this now.

The piston acts as a stop so the door cannot open too far. It just about sits at right angles to the back when open.

Update: November 2017

One end of the strut snapped off. I can only think that there was a little bit too much leverage at the door end.

I've looked at the design and made the following changes:
Change bolt: I've used a Torx head bolt from the inside so it does not stick out as much.
Grind end: I've ground down the strut end on the door so it can rotate further before it hits the  above bolt.
Torque: I have tried a fixed force strut of 50Nm. This is not quite enough to push open the door but helps a little. I'll try 100Nm next time.
Length: The length of 450mm and stroke of 200mm worked nicely. I tried a 350mm long strut but it only just works and the door does not open to 90deg. I'll stick with the 450mm long in the future.
Position: I intended to move the strut across the back of the door but the bracket that would have been required would need to stick out a long way. I prefer it running along the side of the truck.

350mm is a bit short

Update January 2022:

This is now on a different Defender but it is the same side opening door.

Eventually the replacement gas strut also failed.  I took the view that was not a long term solution. For quite a while we used a webbing strap but after we were forced to change cars, and I got a chance, I fitted something based on the standard Land Rover stay. 

The tub side was the same as used on a normal full height, safari, door. The door side was the bolt on runner from the rear doors of a 110. A typical safari door as a welded on runner.


Saturday 21 January 2017

Side opening tailgate

I'm not sure that a tailgate that opens to the side is a tailgate. Some call it a half door. We coined the phrase Safari Gate for the duration of the works. I guess it's actually just a gate.

I bought the tailgate from someone who had already converted it to side opening. All we needed to do was bolt it on.

Well, replace all the bolts with a nice matching new set with new hinges, then bolt it on.

First thing was to remove the bracket used for the Safari door catch.

When I say just add new bolts, it's never quite that simple. To get to the bolts under the wheel arch there were some stubborn screws that needed to be ground off and replaced.

Then I made some reinforcement plates.

Shelley coated them in Duralac Green to reduce the chance of the steel and aluminium reacting with each other where they meet.

Then we bolted it all together, lined it up, drilled and fitted the antiluce.

I could not get the Land Rover style tailgate rubber to fit where I liked it so I made my own rubber stop from some matting.

Another days work and Fender can now carry stuff.